Completion Date: 09/30/2022
4th Quarter: Activities planned for FY 2022 are complete with IRS utilizing a document upload tool. Operational issues in the process are addressed as identified in collaborative work sessions. All actions on this objective have been completed as of 9/30/2022.
3rd Quarter: During the third quarter, Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) representatives participated with IRS on initiatives surrounding Secure Access Digital Identity (SADI) authentication and the Document Upload Tool (DUT) expansion efforts. As such, TAS identified taxpayer confusion when receiving an ID.me email that informed them of successful authentication through the Video Agent (virtual) method and the next steps the taxpayer should take. TAS elevated the issue to the IRS SADI program owners who agreed to improve the email language to clarify the taxpayer’s next steps upon successful video authentication and we provided them suggested language for the updated email message. Additionally, IRS expanded DUT to include taxpayer responses to the Computer Paragraph (CP) 05A, “Information Regarding Your Refund – Refund Being Held Pending More Thorough Review.”
Moving forward, TAS will work with IRS on the Business Master File (BMF) Identity Theft filter responses, Spanish language translations, and surveying Low Income Taxpayer Clinic (LITC) participants to identify challenges low income taxpayers experience in authenticating their identities for returns selected by the IRS identity theft filters.
Lastly, TAS identified a programming deficiency in the refund fraud filters that held legitimate filers refunds after income documents validating return information were supplied by the Social Security Administration. IRS will implement a programming fix by July 17, 2022.
2nd Quarter: During the second quarter, the document upload tool (DUT) was expanded beyond congressional aides, to include taxpayers working with the original test office. Further, The Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) provided DUT training to all TAS employees and secured system access for employees to review and upload DUT received documents to TAS cases. Also, TAS leadership attended executive level collaboration meetings with the IRS’ Revenue Integrity and Correspondence Services (RICS) executives with oversight of the IRS fraud filters to provide feedback to minimize delays. TAS experts are engaged in varied project meetings to identify opportunities to minimize refund delays for taxpayers whose legitimate tax returns are delayed by IRS fraud filters. TAS will continue to work this activity during the third quarter.
1st Quarter: During the first quarter the Taxpayer Advocate Service (TAS) worked with the IRS to improve IRS correspondence for clarity by collaborating with IRS’ Online Services (OLS) Division to highlight the need to expand online account features and functionality to include all correspondence to taxpayers, integration of Where’s My Refund with more specificity of status and expansion of the IRS2Go to include all online account features and functions as noted in the most recent Annual Report to Congress (ARC). The 2021 ARC Most Serious Problem (MSP) “Transparency and Clarity: The IRS Lacks Proactive Transparency and Fails to Provide Timely, Accurate, and Clear Information” with corresponding legislative recommendation “IRS Online Accounts Do Not Have Sufficient Functionality and Integration With Existing Tools to Meet the Needs of Taxpayers and Practitioners” addressed these much needed improvements. Additionally, we worked with the IRS Return Integrity and Compliance Services (RICS) office to launch a pilot with Low Income Taxpayer Clinic staff to verify identities of taxpayers caught up in identity filters and to help get their refunds released. The submission process started in early December. Our attorney advisors also assisted in preparing clinicians by providing information about various letters and current IRS procedures for verification. We will continue to advocate for these recommendations with IRS as the need arises.
Additionally, we continued working with IRS on cross-functional teams to advocate for improved e-authentication methods for taxpayers who were selected by Identity Theft (IDT) filters. We reviewed Systemic Advocacy Management System (SAMS) submissions for potential systemic issues related to IRS’ deployment of the Secure Access Digital Identity (SADI) program. TAS representatives will continue our involvement in IRS actions by attending weekly cross-functional meetings between IRS and ID.me as well as bi-weekly meetings with Return Integrity Verification (RIV) Program Management headquarter staff to advocate for improvements.
We continued to advocate for the widespread use of the digital document upload portal or other technology that will allow taxpayers to securely submit identity and income verification documents electronically. During the first quarter, TAS began the rollout of the document upload tool and expect it to be completed in the second quarter. Further, we are collaborating with the Business Operating Divisions (BODs) on the expansion.
Lastly, we continued reviewing our local cases and external submissions in SAMS to identify potential programming errors or taxpayer burden deficiencies with IRS fraud filters or the processing and release of refunds for those associated taxpayers. As appropriate, issues were elevated to subject matter experts to identify potential errors, and/or taxpayer burden deficiencies with IRS fraud filters or the processing and release of refunds to be shared with IRS.